The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Grease And The Best Opportunities

2012 March 18

Recently, I was talking shop with a fellow writer. She was filling me in on the status of a pitch she had submitted the month before. It ended up that the outlets she targeted had already filled their editorial calenders for the month, but at least one of those publications was so impressed with her idea that they invited her to pitch them something else. Instead of writing that off as simply a polite form response, she sees it for what it is – a golden opportunity to get published by a site she’s had her eye on. She’s already at work on her new pitch. If they’re going to open the door, there’s no way she isn’t going to walk right through.

My boss at Forbes will sometimes send out story ideas to a handful of us who tend to cover issues related to the twentysomething work experience. Even if I’ve just filed a piece the day before or plan to file one tomorrow or have other things on my plate, I will always volunteer for one of the assignments. I want to stand out and I want to distinguish myself as dependable and adaptable, because when a big tip or a new opportunity crosses her desk, I want mine to be the name that comes to mind.

Eagerness and ambition are not undignified. Not in your professional or personal life. We’re all big kids, we can tell the difference between stalking and wearing our hearts on our sleeves because damn it, these are our feelings and we own them. Being enthusiastic and going all in isn’t a sign of desperation, it’s a sign of someone who knows what they want, knows what they can bring to the table and isn’t too self-conscious to let everyone else know it, too. That takes guts. A LOT of guts. There’s so much playing it cool, so much blase bet-hedging, that someone who shows up hungry and says, “Hell yes, I want this!” stands out. In the best way.

Be that person.

And if you won’t take my word for it, you should at least listen to Cat Stevens.

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